Joyce Carol Oates is one of America's most prolific writers whose novels, short stories, essays and poems traverse history, fiction, gothic and pscyhological thrillers and children's books.
A thread that is often there is what lies beneath the veneer of a character's story - what the hidden themes are that influence their actions and their lives.
As well as writing, Joyce Carol Oates has also taught new writers for many years at Princeton University. In 2009 she wrote a memoir A Widow's Story following the sudden death of her husband Ray Smith, which detailed her navigation of the sudden solitude from losing her life partner.
Her latest book The Lost Landscape is a memoir of her very early life - her memories of her home and family in rural up state New York, the observations of a child making sense of her world and her development as a writer.
She talks to Kathryn Ryan about her memoirs and life's work.